PUMPKIN PATCH — Last night was Halloween, and in my nine years alive, I had never before seen such haunting magic. At around 2 AM, I heard Mommy’s voice speaking in a low whisper. The response was a deep growl that raised every hair on my body. I chose not to leave my bed — or even open my eyes — in fear of what I might see. But when the voices stopped suddenly, I felt obligated to investigate. I encouraged myself to stand up, head downstairs, and peek around the corner. On the way, I repeated over and over in my head that the Great Pumpkin was only a legend.
Daddy often mentioned the Great Pumpkin. He learned about it decades ago, in a simpler time, when the children would play in the cornfields late at night and the leaves rustling in the wind sounded like the throatless cries of lost souls. My mother always denied the elusive being’s existence, claiming the only man crazy enough to fly through the air and deliver presents to every girl and boy in one night was Santa Claus. “If anybody else dared to take on this challenge, they would have to be incredibly brave, strong, and mysterious,” Mommy had said time and time again. “Especially if he was a pumpkin.”
While Mommy made good points, I shall never again believe a word she says. What I witnessed last night seemed to come from the depths of hell or the mind of cartoonist Charles M. Schulz. A giant jack-o-lantern, with a cheery grin carved meticulously into his pumkin flesh, used his vine-like tentacles to hold Mommy. They raised her off the ground, as if she were possessed by Satan himself, and my weak, prepubescent legs trembled.
Mommy giggled as she stared into the eyes of this feral ghoul, and the giggle quickly transformed into a full-bodied laugh. She couldn’t stop, and tears began rolling down her eyes. Still unaware of my presence, she spoke to the pumpkin. “I’m sorry. I’m sorry.” And the two held each other. The embrace lasted much longer than I had ever seen Mommy hug anybody, let alone a pumpkin.
Then, the pumpkin’s smile diminished into a pucker, his inner orange goo curling and forming lips. Mommy leaned in and kissed the Great Pumpkin, with tears streaming down her face. The vines tightened around her and caressed her cheek. I did not know the full extent of the gourd’s powers. The jack-o-lanterns that my brothers and I had carved the week before suddenly rolled to the center of the living room and began chanting. Their song was composed in a language no human still speaks.
The kiss ended, and Mommy dropped to the floor on her hands and knees. Her breath was quick and shallow. She noticed me then, but couldn’t speak. She held a hand over her mouth and curled up on the ground. Bats flew into our house through the open window and formed a flying throne for the pumpkin. He climbed on and took off into the night, without a trace.
Mommy was left on the ground, and her face turned a bright green. The Great Pumpkin left us with a true Halloween miracle: pounds of candy spewing out of Mommy’s body. Her vomit included every kind of candy imaginable– Tootsie Rolls, Smarties, Hershey’s, even Raisinettes– still wrapped in plastic. It was glorious, and the greatest Halloween gift I could have asked for.
Still, the night left me with more questions than answers. Is Daddy aware of the love affair between his wife and the holiday mascot of which he’s been spinning tales throughout my childhood? Is the Great Pumpkin capable of love, or is he doomed to an eternity of pain and anguish? And finally, did Mommy know she would vomit up sugary sweets after the kiss, or was that due to the Great Pumpkin feeling particularly generous because I’ve been an awfully good boy this year? I don’t know if I will ever uncover the truth.
And honestly, I’m not sure I want to.
Please continue to check The Westwood Enabler for updates.